“Being Here / Chapter 84 Summer Vacation (Part 1)”
Saturdays at 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll
After experiencing Rei’s high school, Hina has the inspiration to try and get into it. While she is working hard to get in, she can’t help but feel guilty about the strain this might cause to the family finances. While her grandpa affirms her being considerate, he reminds her that it’s these kinds of expenses that are important in life.
I feel spoiled with these episodes. Not only did we have a great shogi two parter in the last arc, now we get what’s looking like at least three Kawamoto sisters episodes, each one cuter than the last! I love how naturally Hina’s desire to join Rei’s school grows out of her appreciation for him and at the same time seeing how the people he has met in this school have helped him open up. It’s such a great way to tie these characters closer together and affirm the impact Rei has had on Hina overcoming her struggles. It’s also another great opportunity for the sisters to try to out-cute each other (Momo wins. Momo always wins.). My only worry about her desire to enter Rei’s high school is she might experience the same disappointment Rei had to go through at the beginning of these episodes. As these science members are graduating this year, so will Rei be the next. She’s going to have to grow friendships beyond him to have a healthy social life once he’s gone.
Special shoutout has to go to my audience proxy Mr. Hayashida. Sure, he may be reading too much into the emotional level of Rei and Hina’s relationship, but he understands just how vital it has been to Rei’s growth. It’s no wonder he wants to tease him and support him as well as he can. What I wasn’t expecting was him being so immediately smitten by Akari. Since the anime portrays him with seemingly grey hair, one can forget that he’s actually still supposed to be in his twenties. He’s a pretty sensible guy, so I imagine this won’t affect things too heavily, but it will be interesting to see if this complicates Rei’s unique relationship with the Kawamotos. That’s not even bringing up the fact that we’re not sure where Rei’s feelings fall on Akari.
I think one of the the things Lion does fantastically well is portray the bittersweet remembrance of loved ones through the good things they passed down to them. Last episode, we saw Akari share how she learned taking over the stall from watching both her grandmother and mother, and now this episode she takes up the mantle as surrogate once again to give Hina the kind of love and care she was able to receive from their mother at Hina’s age. The mourning period is long over, but the feeling of loss never fully goes away. The best way to deal with that reality is to carry on the good they have done. I also love every scene with Grandpa, as his character is always filled with the kindness and bluntness I remember from my own grandpas. He loves his grandchildren, but he’s not afraid to make sure they realize life lessons sooner rather than later. This might be an effect of seeing Akari have to grow up in short time, as it seems he wants Hina to recognize where she is growing and support her in that growth. Now all that’s left is for all Hina’s hard work to pay off.